Chemicals business BASF has doubled the capacity of its UK biologicals production facility in response to growing global demand for biocontrol crop protection solutions for agriculture and horticulture.
BASF produces beneficial nematodes and inoculants at the site at Littlehampton in West Sussex. The expansion sees the business moving ahead with a strategy to develop solutions beyond conventional crop protection.
According to BASF, the Littlehampton plant will be the world’s largest production site for beneficial nematodes. Expanding the site’s capacity to 190,000 litres will allow the company to double production of the microscopic, parasitic organisms, which are used in the control of a diverse range of insect and slug pests.
Speaking at the opening of the expanded facility, Philipp Rosendorfer, BASF vice president R&D functional crop care said: “We are making significant investments in innovating and delivering the best in biological and chemical solutions. Now and for the long-term we are committed to being an innovative partner in this dynamic area.”
The size of the investment in the Littlehampton plant was not disclosed but Graeme Gowling, BASF global biologicals marketing group leader, said investment across the company’s global business in biologicals technology amounted to tens of millions of euros.
BASF markets six different types of beneficial nematodes, with brands including Nemaslug and Nemasys, for control of a range of pests, including slugs, leatherjackets, chafer grubs, cutworms, thrips and codling moth in vegetables, horticulture, and turf.
Mr Gowling said; “The demand for our beneficial nematodes has increased significantly over the past five years, with 2014 being our best year to date.
“Our customers see an increasingly important role in using beneficial nematodes in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs, as they are easy to apply, have a longer window of activity and can effectively control yield-robbing pests.”
Work to develop the technology for use in broad-acre field crops is under way in the UK and is said to be at the field-scale trial stage in oilseed rape and more advanced in potatoes.
The newly-expanded Littlehampton site will also enable BASF to increase the supply of rhizobia bacteria inoculants to Europe and Africa.
The inoculants produce root nodules to conduct nitrogen fixation in a symbiotic relationship with their host legume plants.
BASF are this year’s sponsors of our Crop Protection seminar and will also be holding a business breakfast meeting each day before the event. As well a a presentation from BASF, there will also be a presentation by Mr Sebastien Mallet from the leading international agricultural market intelligence company Offre et Demande Agricole (ODA). Topics covered will include: UK crop out-turn prices, global out-turns, planting predictions for 2016 and the possible impact on prices and opportunities for the 2016 season.
To encourage knowledge exchange among the British farming community further, this year’s event is FREE for farmers to attend. You MUST pre-register online to ensure you receive your free place.
General pre-registered admission: £12, all visitors will charged £15 on the gate on the day of the event.